Introduction Life and Influences

J rgen Moltmann, born in 1926, and from 1967 to 1994 professor of systematic theology at T bingen, is one of the most influential of contemporary German Protestant theologians, in the non-Western as well as the Western world, and in wider church circles as well as in academic theology. Moltmann himself finds the initial source of his theology in his first experience of the reality of God when he was a prisoner of war in the period 1945-8. This was an experience both of God as the power of hope...

Survey of Torrances Work

Torrance's research, teaching, speaking, and writing have always been driven by strong convictions. His personal faith, his evangelical and Reformed concerns, his development of the insights of Karl Barth's approach to theology, his work on the relation of theology and science, and the strength of his personality, have been powerfully evident, eliciting both strong support and opposition. His passion has been in the way in which faith and theology are rightly pursued, and many of his books have...

Christology

In The Way of Jesus Christ Moltmann returned to the Christological center of his early work, and was now able to develop a more comprehensive Christology. The dialectic of cross and resurrection is retained from the early work, as is the stress on the Old Testament Jewish framework of theological interpretation for the history of Jesus. The latter is now developed in a more distinctively messianic rather than simply eschatological form the Christian dialogue with Judaism must keep Christo-logy...

Preface

The main aim of this volume is to introduce the thought of most leading Christian theologians and movements in theology since the end of World War I (1914-18). Two criteria of selection were that the theologians should have written constructively on a broad range of theological issues, and that they should be widely studied at present, especially in universities, seminaries, and by others at the third level. There were also the more controversial criteria of quality and significance, and in...

Debate

Some of the issues that have been raised in criticism of Moltmann's work are as follows. Critics of Moltmann's early work frequently complained of one-sided emphasis on some theological themes at the expense of others. This was said especially of the emphasis on the future in Theology of Hope, which appeared to deny all present experience of God. However, in retrospect, this one-sidedness can be seen to be a result of Moltmann's method, in the early works, of taking up in turn a number of...

Existential disruption

Part III deals with the questions arising from our existential disruption. Existence means standing out of non-being. For Tillich, the non-being out of which each of us stands is our potentiality which, until it is realized, is simply a possibility. It is our essential nature. To exist is to be distanced, standing out from our essence. Hence, for Tillich, existence and existential usually have the sense of estranged from essence.6 Our existential situation is a state of estrangement from...

Eschatology

One of the most important achievements of Moltmann's early theology was to rehabilitate future eschatology. This was in part a response to the demonstration by biblical scholarship that future eschatology is of determinative significance for biblical faith. Whereas Schweitzer, Bultmann, and others had thought biblical escha-tology unacceptable to the modern mind unless stripped of reference to the real temporal future of the world, Moltmann, along with some other German theologians in the...

Integrations

How is a theologian to relate these various topics to each other One tendency (corresponding to the second type described above) is to see Christianity as having a certain coherence in itself. The doctrines together are the intellectual description of this. So Lindbeck (see chapter 14) compares doctrines to the statement of the basic grammar or rules showing how a language or culture hangs together. This makes the Christian community the main home of Christian theology (cf. Barth's Church...

Beauty and the glory of

The truth of God takes form for us in the world. This form, according to Balthasar, is self-disclosing and enrapturing, and the conditions for the perception of this form (which is the Gestalt Christi) are given with and in it. We are not to pick it apart with tools derived from elsewhere, making it so much an object of our inquiry that we are never confronted and shaped by it never its objects. Balthasar's approach to the question of God's self-disclosure is contemplative as opposed to...

Introduction Life

Karl Rahner is one of the giants of twentieth-century theology. He wrote prolific-ally, lectured widely, and exerted a major influence on theology within and beyond the Roman Catholic Church. He had a tremendous intellectual reach, writing on the full range of theological topics and a good deal more, and produced a body of work consistently marked by a distinctive and often highly creative combination of fidelity to the church and honest engagement with modern thought. Rahner's life was, on his...

Beginnings to the 1919 Commentary on Romans

What is heard in the 1919 Commentary on Romans is a passionate and vivid cry - in the form of a careful paraphrase of Paul's letter - to start all theology from the Reality of God, complete and whole in itself apart from and prior to the knowing activity of human individuals,6 dialectically distinct from the reality of the world World remains world. But God is God. That required the subordination of all worldly human possibilities - history, ideas, distinctions, and relations, including...

The supernatural in relation to de Lubacs other theological thematics

De Lubac's other significant theological writings on other topics bear out the idea that he saw the paradox of grace as equally the paradox of culture and of human history. We can see this in three specific instances evolution, scriptural exegesis, and ecclesiology. In all three cases, as von Balthasar well points out, de Lubac follows the logic of a later and essential addition that nonetheless arrives from above as a gift and does not unfold ineluctably from below. So, in the first instance,...

Contexts and interests

The nineteenth- and twentieth-century historical and sociological insights urge theologians to take fuller account of the situation in which theology is done and for whom and by whom it is done. The history of ideas is not enough. Theology needs to be seen in relation to many forces and events helping to shape it through the centuries. The twentieth century has added its own conditioning, such as the Holocaust and concentration camps the unprecedented scale of mass killing of fellow human...

Major Writings

Of Bonhoeffer's major writings, the two dissertations - Sanctorum Communio and Act and Being - plus Creation and Fall, Christ the Center,15 Life Together, and Discipleship were published during his lifetime. Creation and Fall and Christ the Center16 originated as lectures at the University of Berlin Life Together and Discipleship were based on Bonhoeffer's experiences at Finkenwalde and his presentations to his students there. At the time of Bonhoeffer's arrest in April 1943, Ethics17 was left...

Debate and Agenda

In Bonhoeffer's theology we don't see the development of a methodically consistent system, but the emerging coherence of a constellation of issues and themes that dominated his writing almost from the beginning community, creation, Christology, and the costliness of discipleship. We are our relationships, Bonhoeffer was convinced, for we were created for community, brought into being reflecting the image of a God who is the relationship of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. In Christ, whom Paul...

Achievement and Agenda

Balthasar is not an argumentative theologian. His theology seeks less to analyze, or to construct and systematize a theology on the basis of rational argument, than to give creative, imaginative expression to Christian truth. He wants to articulate a vision of the Christian mystery that is in the end attractive, and persuasive for that reason. Persuasive because it is allowed to exert its own compelling power rather than because of mere force of argument and attractive not in a superficial...

Theodicy

From the beginning, Moltmann's theology gave prominence to the question of God's righteousness in the face of the suffering and evil of the world. In the first phase of his response to the problem, in Theology of Hope, he proposed an eschatolo-gical theodicy. Innocent and involuntary suffering must not be justified, as it would be if it were explained as contributing to the divine purpose. The promise given in the resurrection of Jesus gives no explanation of suffering, but it does provide hope...

The nineteenth century Creativity and crisis

In the recovery and criticism of the past a theologian frequently gives a special place to particular periods or contributions. It is often more true to say that a theologian seems gripped in this way, and is immersed in texts and debates which have an authority that permeates his or her theology. The Bible is most widely treated in this way, and the patristic period is likewise usually privileged. The other two main reference points before the modern period are medieval theology and the...

The Life and Writings of Henri de Lubac

Henri de Lubac was a Jesuit theologian who was educated at Jesuit centers in France and England before World War I. (Unlike some of his confr res, he received no other formal academic training.) In that war he was badly wounded in the head, a wound which affected him somewhat throughout his long life. In the interwar years, he was the central but sometimes shadowy figure of a diverse new theological tendency in France which demanded a rejection of neoscholasticism and a qualification of the...

Influence and Controversies

Tillich has had continuing influence on discussion of several theological issues. He has shaped the way the concepts of religion and the religious are widely understood in terms of ultimate concern. Indeed, in coining the expression ultimate concern he introduced a new phrase into the English language to define religion. It even came to have standing in American law. His related theory of symbols, and of religious symbols in particular, has had similar continuing influence. In general, his...

The church and the Kingdom of

The third volume of the Systematic Theology comprises Pannenberg's ecclesiology and his eschatology. His treatment of the church documents his commitment to the ecumenical process. His specific aim is to offer a reassessment of the doctrinal differences between Protestantism and Roman Catholicism in order to examine and, if possible, to overcome the doctrinal obstacles for achieving greater visible unity of the church. This ecumenical emphasis follows from Pannenberg's view that the church is...

A declarative theology

As we have seen, Torrance had strong convictions from the beginning evangelical, ecclesial, and reformed in the Scottish tradition, and missionary. His convictions were, it seems, sharpened by the pervasive presence of the liberalism into which - as he thought - Scottish theology had sunk, even in the place where he studied and became professor, New College at the University of Edinburgh, personified there by John Baillie. In his resistance to these tendencies, Torrance's principal allies were...

Dogmatic theology and the Church Dogmatics A new beginning

In significant respects, Barth had established the pattern of his future work by the time he arrived at Bonn in March 1930. Yet many claim that his book on Anselm was a new beginning. He had taught Anselm in 1926, and written of him in the Christian Dogmatics of 1927, but now he did return to him in a seminar in the summer of 1930. The issue which especially concerned him was how human reason functioned in relation to the reality of God. For Anselm, he finds, intelligere is desired by faith,...

Pneumatology

Moltmann's theology has become more and more strongly pneumatological, a development that culminates in The Spirit of Life. This is in part a consequence of his trinitarian doctrine, which stresses the reciprocal and changing relationships of the three persons, and rejects the subordination of pneumatology to Christology. The principle for both pneumatology and Christology is that they must be understood in relation to each other within an overall trinitarian framework, rather than that...

The systematic agenda

The traditional topics of what is variously called systematic theology, Christian doctrine, dogmatic theology, or constructive theology are God and revelation, predestination (or election), creation and providence, human being, sin and evil, Jesus Christ, atonement (or redemption or salvation), the Holy Spirit (or grace), and Christian living (including justification, sanctification, vocation, ethics, and politics), the church, ministry and sacraments, and eschatology. These doctrines (or...

Discipleship

Originally published in November 1937, just after the closing of Finkenwalde, Discipleship developed a theology of Christian vocation in dialogue with Jesus's Sermon on the Mount from the Gospel of Matthew. The tone is eschatological, the urgency palpable. The church, Bonhoeffer charges, has become the purveyor of cheap grace - grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate - and remains unwilling to pay the cost of the loss of its power,...

The church

Moltmann describes his ecclesiology alternatively as messianic ecclesiology or relational ecclesiology. Both terms serve to situate the church within God's trinitarian history with the world, more specifically within the missions of the Son and the Spirit on their way to the eschatological kingdom. In the first place, Moltmann's ecclesiology is rooted in his eschatological Christology. The church lives between the past history of Jesus and the universal future in which that history will reach...

Drama and the Christevent

As the church's obedient receptivity gives birth to discipleship, after the manner of the transition in Ignatian spirituality from contemplation to mission, so The Glory of the Lord gives birth to Theo-Drama. It is out of believers' obedience to the one divine Word that the richness and diversity of the many aspects of the Christian church's life are born. Hence the lives of the saints and the classical Christian theologians are not to be seen as pale copies which obstruct our view of the...

Recovering and criticizing the past

A major feature of modernity has been its concern with history. Underlying this is a heightened awareness of change and innovation. The tools that have served this are new methods of research and new criteria for historical reliability. These, together with the greatly increased scale of historical study and research, have had the most obvious effects on theology. The Bible (see especially chapters 17 and 31) and the rest of the Christian heritage have been examined afresh and traditional...

Actuality

The final two parts of the system deal with questions concerning our actuality. Actuality is Tillich's technical ontological concept of concrete life - life is the 'actuality of being.' Essence designates one main qualification of being, taken in abstraction from any particular life in its concreteness. Existence designates the other main qualification, also taken in abstraction. Actuality refers to your life precisely in its concrete uniting of essence and existence.7 This is a key point....

Achievement and Debate

When one attempts to summarize the achievements of Pannenberg's theological conception three characteristics seem to be most notable. First of all, Pannenberg's theology is an attempt to meet the challenge of the atheistic critique of religion in the modern era without seeking refuge in strategies of intellectual immunization, and on the reflective level that is required by the intellectual standard of the critique and by its pervasive influence in contemporary culture. Secondly, Pannenberg...

Around Humani Generis

De Lubac had to clarify, at one end of his problematic, the relation between the natural desire for the supernatural and the actual historical offer of grace even if he took this, with the tradition, as always already begun - as the uninterrupted mode of divine action - immediately after the fall and as mediated to all humans by typological anticipation .13 But at the other end, he also had to clarify the issues of natura pura. As we have seen from the quotation in the introduction, Humani...

David F Ford

Christian theology since 1918 has been immensely varied. This has not just been a matter of diverse approaches and conclusions, but also of fundamental differences about what theology is, what modernity is, and what Christianity is, and which questions within these areas are to be given priority. This makes an overview difficult, all the more so because many of the theologians are still alive and producing new works, and some of the movements are still young. This introduction attempts to give,...

Biography and Context

There is a profound congruence between Bonhoeffer's life and times and thought. The telling of his story here will indeed attempt to supply the necessary context for understanding his contributions to religious thought and life, but without pretending that knowing the biography is a sufficient rendering of the remarkable contributions of Dietrich Bonhoeffer to modern theology and practice. Born on February 4, 1906, Dietrich was the sixth of eight siblings, including his twin sister Sabine, all...

Letters and Papers from Prison

The decade leading up to his imprisonment, Bonhoeffer wrote to his friends and coconspirators at Christmas 1942, had been a time when evil appear ed in the form of light, beneficence, loyalty and renewal of blood and soil, nationalism and strength. Every available alternative seemed equally intolerable, repugnant, and futile.39 This essay, After Ten Years, still stands as the gateway to the Letters and Papers from Prison, rooted firmly in the recent past and present for Bonhoeffer. Some of his...

Sanctorum Communio

Bonhoeffer's practical pastoral concerns and his philosophical-theological explorations and interests were but the warp and woof of a conceptual fabric to be woven over his lifetime. Sanctorum Communio, written under the direction of Reinhold Seeberg when Bonhoeffer was twenty-one, provides one bookend to his literary legacy. In his first dissertation, Bonhoeffer treats not just the social philosophy of Plato, Aristotle, Thomas Hobbes, Hegel, and Max Schuller, but also the social-theoretical...

The Surnaturel of 1946

De Lubac's most famous and controversial book was a somewhat ad hoc jamming together of several earlier long articles which nonetheless converged upon a single thesis. Tracing the origin of the terms hyperphues and supernaturalis, de Lubac shows that, following pagan antiquity, they had first of all simply denoted the realm of the divine above that of known physis. The Christian usage referring to an intrusion of the divine within the cosmos and an elevation of humanity was cognate both with a...

The Limit and the Renown of Henri de Lubac

The drastic implications of Henri de Lubac's thought have only gradually come to light. Despite the indirectness and fragmentary character of his work, despite even his failure to do theology or to do philosophy, his influence has now outlasted that of many once-famous names. Arguably, he is, along with Sergei Bulgakov, one of the two truly great theologians of the twentieth century. Yet the lacunae in his work were partly shaped by his battles with authority. Is there not some contradiction...

Dialectical theology to Christian Dogmatics in Outline 1927

No doubt the cry expressed in the 1919 Commentary on Romans captured the imagination of a generation confused, empty, and dismayed by the horror of World War I, the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, rampant inflation, political uncertainties, and immensely difficult living conditions in the traumas during and after the war. But it was also undeveloped theologically, and Barth soon began again, rewriting Romans between late 1920 and mid-1921 before leaving for Gottingen.7 His principal question was...

Notes on Contributors

Allan Anderson is Reader in Pentecostal Studies in the Department of Theology at the University of Birmingham. He has a D.Th. from the University of South Africa, where he worked for 23 years as a Pentecostal Charismatic minister and theological educator. He has written numerous articles and five books on African Pentecostalism and Independentism and has edited two books on global Pentecostalism. His latest books are African Reformation 2001 and An Introduction to Pentecostalism 2004 . Richard...

Influence Achievement and Agenda

The influence of Karl Barth has been so extensive as to be virtually coterminous with the history of theology during and since his lifetime. Since his work was both so decisive in its method and so comprehensive in its scope, we continue to meet it both in those whose approaches coincide with his, in those who argue - against him - for other ways, and also in those who extend the topics with which he was concerned within and outside his frame of reference. So much did he reconstitute and...

Ben Fulford Theology

Editing this volume for the third time has been immeasurably more enjoyable and less work because the labor has been shared with a fellow editor, Rachel Muers. My gratitude to her is immense, not only for the many hours she has put in, but also for her tracking of the various aspects of a considerably larger edition, and above all for her wise advice and judgment. She has accompanied this edition from its inception, and it has been a continual stimulation to look at The Modern Theologians...